Two years after the kick seen across Canada, Buddy Tavares is still dealing with the aftermath.
"Stressed," he said about his state-of-mind Monday as a two-week trial for RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler was about to begin at the Kelowna Law Courts. The 53-year-old golf course superintendent told reporters he still suffers from panic attacks and shaking "every day; today was the worst. I thought I was beyond them until this morning. All back."
Tavares said he thinks history will repeat itself with an acquittal because "it has too many times."
"If you're a cop, you're exempt. The good old boys will take care of you; you will walk," he said, adding he thought the trial would be a dog-and-pony show.
"The witnesses they've called, I find it a little odd that people weren't even there. Seventeen police officers; there were three (there). They might as well call my neighbour up; he wasn't there either," he said.
"Are they going to make him out to be an angel and me this crazed criminal? That's obvious. His whole defence is going to be to discredit me. You watch."
His sister, Pam Weiher from Edmonton, came to Kelowna to offer her support.
"I think the video speaks volumes to what (RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler) did. Buddy is a very kind, wonderful, strong man who would have given Mantler the shirt off his back if he asked for it. He did not deserve the cruel assault under no circumstances. It's terrible. I hope that justice certainly does its job," she said outside the courthouse.
"To set him back so far with a senseless act like that is just unbelievable. The video clearly shows he was absolutely complying. He was fearing for his life. He was being handcuffed by a female RCMP officer, for heavens sakes. He had a severe back injury; he moves slowly. He was not resisting anything. Where was the threat?"
Weiher added the first time she saw the video she was "sickened and horrified. I can't even watch it now," she added.